It seems apparent that one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s top goals in his invasion of Ukraine is the removal by any means of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, to be replaced by a more Russia-friendly figurehead atop a puppet regime.
In that regard, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense is now asserting that a notorious Russian mercenary group has been deployed to Kyiv to once again attempt to assassinate the Ukrainian leader, the New York Post reported.
This new effort comes as, according to his advisers, Zelensky has already dodged or survived at least a dozen other assassination attempts since the invasion began nearly one month ago in late February.
Ukraine says notorious Russian mercenary group sent to kill Zelensky
According to a tweet from Ukrainian Defense Intelligence, “Another group of militants connected with Yevgeny Prigozhin, a Russian propagandist close to Putin and owner of the League (Wagner), began arriving in Ukraine today.”
“The main task of criminals is to eliminate the top military and political leadership of Ukraine,” the official account of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry’s intelligence division added.
❗️Сьогодні в Україну почали прибувати чергові групи бойовиків, пов’язаних з наближеним до Путіна російським пропагандистом та власником ПВК «Ліга» (Вагнер), Євгеном Пригожиним.
❗️Основне завдання злочинців – ліквідація вищого військово-політичного керівництва України. pic.twitter.com/pe90TGCYb4
— Defence intelligence of Ukraine (@DI_Ukraine) March 20, 2022
The Post noted that the Wagner group, also known as Liga, is a Russian private military company allegedly linked to Russian oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin — though he has long denied any connections — who has been nicknamed as “Putin’s Chef” due to their close association.
The mercenaries of the Wagner group have been credibly accused in multiple instances of committing horrific atrocities and war crimes in places like the Central African Republic and Syria, as well as in Ukraine since Crimea was annexed and fighting broke out in the eastern Donbas region in 2014.
Allegedly targeting more than just Zelensky for assassination
According to Fox News, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense’s Main Intelligence Directorate said more broadly that, aside from Zelensky, the private mercenary group had also been tasked with assassinating Ukraine’s prime minister and other key advisers and officials in the Ukrainian government in Kyiv.
“The Russian occupiers, having failed to achieve their goals during the full-scale aggression against Ukraine, continue to try to destabilize the Ukrainian government, demoralize society, disrupt the resistance movement, and slow down Ukraine’s international cooperation,” the Defense officials said Sunday. “The organization of assassinations of the first persons of our state is part of the strategy of the occupiers.”
“The Kremlin’s plans are well known to the Ukrainian army, special services and law enforcement agencies,” the ministry added. “We are ready to repel the aggressor both at the front and in the rear. No terrorist attack will succeed.”
The Post noted that Progozhin has been sanctioned by the U.S. government and is wanted by the FBI for alleged crimes committed by himself and the Wagner group, which in theory is a private entity but in reality is almost certainly a Putin-approved auxiliary paramilitary force that can act on Russia’s behalf while maintaining a thin veneer of plausible deniability for Putin’s regime.